Now for a classic relationship breakdown single with Korean girl group Kara. In 2013, they released their fourth feature-length album, Full Bloom, with the title track being the unexpectedly catchy single, “Damaged Lady.”
Kara has been dubbed one of South Korea’s top girl groups because they have been consistent with successful song releases since the commercial failure of their debut single, “Break It.” When Kara was gearing up for their album release in 2013, there were high expectations to see if Kara could produce a single that measured up to their pervious Korean singles.
For this release, the five members of Kara are singing about the pain, heartbreak, and frustration a woman goes through when breaking up unexpectedly with her boyfriend.
For the music video, Kara have used both original and unoriginal elements. Something original is that they have an outfit change in the restaurant restroom before confronting their ex-boyfriends all at once, while the more unoriginal elements include storming out of a restaurant and confronting their ex-boyfriends in a public setting.
The music video is a bit contradictory when trying to put a new spin on the old classic breakup video. Although the concept that Kara have used is not an unfamiliar one, they have made it unique by embracing their real age. With K-pop music, you either get girl groups looking way too old for their age or looking way to young for their age. Kara actually look spot on in the twenties age range. Because of this, the concept looks natural, rather than awkward.
The music video starts off with the five members sitting in a restaurant. Their boyfriends look miserable and are checking out the other women right in front of them. They decide to get up and go to the restrooms. Next, the members change into uniformly black trousers, black high heels, white sleeveless shirts, and black ties. They then go out and face their ex-boyfriends, who seem to be on dates with different women.
The five members confront them either verbally or physically before setting off the fire alarm and causing the water sprinklers to come on. During these confrontational scenes, there are both individual member shots in which they sing and dance their parts, as well as shots of all five members performing the dance routine together. As I wrote earlier, the concept is not that original, but the way that they have presented and edited the video together gives the song a more elegant feel. It is actually quite good for a song that is just singing about the pain of a breakup.
The backing melody is an up-tempo synth pop dance number that has obvious influences from the genres of pop rock and R&B. It actually makes the song sound like a track from a girl group that was more popular in America or the UK in the 1990s and early 2000s. The consistent use of the keyboard and guitar throughout the song features different highs and lows keep you on the edge of your seat. It could possibly be the first time people dance along to a painful breakup song.
The lyric highlights include “na banggeum ibyeol haetdan mariyaiya / nado cham johasseotdan mariyaiya / nan jigeum ireoke apeunde / nideureun mwoga joha / chorahae jukgetdan mariya / sungnyeo ttawi mwo,” which translates to “I just went through a break up / I was so happy too / I’m hurting like this right now / but what are you all so happy about? / I feel so miserable that I could die / I don’t care about being a lady.” These definitely go with the scene where the five members confront their ex-boyfriends. They are expressing their frustration in not being able to move past their current heartache, whereas the ex-boyfriends have been able to move on immediately.